Preparing Operators and Field Employees for ADMS

About Our Client

Arizona Public Service (APS) is a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital and distributes power to 1.2 million customers in 11 of 15 Arizona counties, making it the largest electric utility in the state. It operates 5,900 miles of transmission lines and more than 29,100 miles of distribution lines; it generates more than 6,100 MW of capacity, mainly from fossil-fueled and nuclear power plants. APS also purchases power from other suppliers to supplement its company-owned generation capacity.

The Situation

APS was facing a perfect storm of:

  • An old outage management system (OMS) integrated with a separate energy management system (EMS).
  • Renewable energies, such as solar and wind, gaining popularity with customers.
  • The implementation of smart grid technologies increasing on the distribution system.

All these changes were requiring operators and field employees to spend inefficient amounts of time using many different software tools to manage the grid. And most importantly, operators did not always have an accurate depiction of the immediate state of the electric grid.

In 2014, APS decided to implement Schneider Electric’s advanced distribution management system (ADMS) suite to consolidate all the tools needed to perform distribution operations activities into one enterprise-wide system that enables operators to maintain awareness of the state of the grid in real-time and make informed decisions. During the implementation process, APS faced a couple of significant challenges in preparing operators and field employees to utilize the new system and tools effectively:

  • The Schneider implementation team was based out of Serbia and had limited understanding of the North American electric model and control room operations.
  • APS’ internal operations training resources lacked the experience and staff necessary to develop and execute ADMS training for over 800 impacted employees.

Mosaic Offers a Solution

To equip APS operators and field personnel with the knowledge and skills needed to utilize the new ADMS effectively at go-live, Mosaic rolled out a role-based, scenario-driven training approach that included the following components:

  • Short, incremental, and progressive training sessions that progress learners from foundational concepts to the necessary competencies over a multiple-week period. This approach helps reduce information overload, allows for the repetitive practice of new skills, and is less disruptive to the business because operators can consume training in smaller chunks.
  • A performance support portal with online documentation that provides easy access to up-to-date business processes, workarounds, bug fixes, and end user job aids.
  • 50+ custom-developed training scenarios in Schneider’s operator training simulator, which operates separately from the production system and provides a realistic environment for hands-on training under simulated normal, emergency, and restorative operating conditions. Scenario-based simulation training is a paradigm shift from traditional on-the-job training and accelerates the time it takes to upskill an operator.
  • Process-based training that teaches troubleshooters and electric foreman how to use the new online system to communicate status with the control room. Through simulated role-play exercises and visual process diagrams that provide the end-to-end context of their interaction with the system, field employees gain a high level of understanding and confidence.

Mosaic’s deep expertise in control room operations, Schneider’s ADMS platform, and process-based training has helped APS increase the speed of system adoption both in the control room and in the field, and has improved the efficiency of transmission and distribution system operators.